Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday night, midnight

I just thought I would write a mass email to update everyone so far about what has happened in the past 24 hours. If any of you don't know yet, Jon and Allison were involved in a serious car accident on Saturday night. First of all, for right now they are both doing OK (Sunday night). They are both pretty beat up and we're especially concerned about Allison. I'm not going to go into a ton of detail but its been hard to keep people posted about what has happened during the day when we don't even know sometimes what happened or what is going on. Its also been hard to find the time to talk on the phone, and we were having problems keeping our cell phones charged.

Anyway. First Jon. His injuries are mostly all broken bones. He has 3 places where he had serious bone damage - all three requiring surgery. They are: left foot/ankle, right elbow, and right clavicle (shoulder). To put it into perspective, his clavicle was broken in 6 places and was the least problematic of the three. His ankle was a protruding fracture where the bone was actually sticking out of the skin. He both rotated and twisted it, breaking both sides, tearing some cartilage, and in general beat it up pretty bad. Once again I've been bombarded with information and I can't give you a ton of details accurately, but my mom was writing some of this down after the surgery. His elbow, the surgeon said, was the 2nd worst bone injury he's ever seen (worse than the ankle). All three required plates inserted, along with various pins and screws. I know the elbow required at least two plates, and the clavicle and ankle at least one. His surgery was projected to take 3 hours today and instead took 6, it was pretty involved. He was operated on first thing in the morning because of the bone protrusion and risk of infection. He's conscious now and obviously in a lot of pain but still very strong. He's loopy from the pain medication and anesthesia, but able to carry on conversations and is joking with us. He's in a neck brace right now mostly just for precaution since he has a history of neck problems, but right now we are not worried about any sort of head, neck, spine, etc injuries. The pains in his neck are not any more serious than they have always been for the past few years, he says. I believe that he will start range of motion therapy on his ankle and elbow as early as Tuesday, and will be back home as early as Wednesday which seems amazing to me. He can't put any weight on his ankle for 6 weeks. Both the elbow and ankle will not have the range of motion they once had, but the doctor was optimistic. A couple nurses we talked to said that Jon's surgeon was one of the best doctors in the hospital and that he "put Spectrum on the map." He's also Allison's orthopedic doctor.

Allison. She has a broken pelvis, arm, and I think foot/leg. She knocked her head pretty bad and has remained mostly unconscious since the scene of the accident. She's hooked up to a ventilator and has not been breathing on her own still as of 3ish hours ago (8-9pm Sat. night). She has a broken eye socket. She has one vertebrae in her neck and at least two in her lower back with some damage, none of which have resulted in any damage to her spinal cord (thank god). I think the damage was some chipping of the bone or small fractures I don't really know. She has moved all four limbs on her own and has tried to open her eyes at least once (they are pretty swollen). She has responded to people talking to her by moving her arms and legs and has been able to hear and respond at times (if you tell her to squeeze your hand she can). They don't think any of her broken bones will require surgery. She has some minor liver damage which also will not need surgery and should heal on its own. They don't think she will need plastic surgery for her face. At one point this afternoon we were extremely worried when she was not responding to any commands or pinching/prodding, but she came around and all her vitals are currently doing well, as far as I know. She was on anesthesia to keep her knocked out for a while this morning but has been off it for quite a while now so we hope she wakes up soon, but maybe her body just needs time to be relaxed and time to heal. They are going to try to ween her off of the ventilator but are obviously worried about her and don't want to cause her any undue stress. She will be in the hospital for a while and no one is quite sure how long. Her pelvis alone I think would require quite a bit of time to heal while laying flat, I think at least a couple weeks with all this extra stuff added on. Its hard to see her in her state but we remain optimistic. Despite all the damage in and around some very major parts of her body, the news has remained good in terms of any sort of head/brain/spine or any other life-changing injury. The most recent news I heard from a few CAT scans is that she shows no signs of brain damage, despite mention of a slight "pinhole" bleed in her head earlier in the day. She's being monitored and her vitals remain good for now, and like I said, we hope that she wakes up soon so we can learn more. Allison's injuries are harder for me to understand and I was not around her doctors as much as Jon's so I apologize if I stated anything erroneous.

They are both at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jon is in the Orthopedic unit and Allison is in the Intensive Care Unit. They are pretty close to one another and they plan on taking Jon in to see Allison tomorrow, perhaps even with him sitting up in a wheelchair to do so.

As for the accident itself. We heard some information from Jon when we got there that night which was enriched by a State Trooper talking to Allison's father, Mike. I think the cop was the first responder. Allison was driving on a 2 lane road coming back from Grenville heading to Grand Rapids. The car went out of control due to what we believe to just be an icy spot on the road (the roads were absolutely treacherous that night) and slid into an oncoming car. The car hit the passenger side of their Ford Focus, flipping their car on its side where it then skidded without rolling. The impact actually completely removed their engine from its frame, hurtling the whole engine block 40 feet backwards from the scene of the crash. The cop said this is the first time he's ever seen that happen. The cop said the first call came in sometime around 9pm on Sunday night. They ended up closing the road at the scene. Amazingly, the other driver (just a single driver) walked away from the crash apparently relatively unharmed. We're not even sure he went to a hospital. To get Jon and Allison out they had to cut the roof off of their car. They took Allison first, then Jon. I -- and I believe I'm speaking for all family involved here -- believe that this crash was absolutely no one's fault but that of poor weather and unpredictable winter roads.

I'm sure I forgot some things and that people have questions, feel free to e-mail me back and I'll try to answer what I can. They have computers at the hospital that I can use but I'm not sure how often I will be able to check. If you forward this email to anyone please also send me an email with their address so they can be added to any further correspondences from me. I have my phone now and it will be charged. Jon's phone is at the hospital now and charged. My parents are at the hospital now and I'm at home. I'm going to try to get a couple hours of sleep so I can head back and give my parents a break.

My phone: 616 994 2797
Jon's phone: 616 204 3450


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